If you don’t believe the hospital experience for new mothers has changed that much in the last few decades, read through the mind-blowing instructions one institution issued every one of their postpartum patients.
“My mom was going through her things and we saw this, it's rules in regards to just having a baby,” Micala Gabrielle Henson wrote alongside the document which she posted on Facebook. The letter had been issued to her grandmother the day her mother was born.
“INSTRUCTION FOR MOTHERS,” the slightly yellowed document issued by Cabarrus Memorial Hospital in Concord, North Carolina reads.
Henson, who welcomed her first child, a little boy, just five months ago, says she was “so surprised and kind of in disbelief” when she read through some of the issued “routines” and instructions ordered by nursing service department, which claimed to be devised in order to “safeguard you and your baby.”
First off, forget about spending your hospital stay bonding with your new baby.
Instead, you can spend less than two hours a day viewing them from behind glass. “Babies are on display at Nursery window from 2:30 to 3:30 P.M. and 7:00 to 7:45 P.M. Please do not ask to see baby at any other time,” reads one of the rules.
And when it comes to actually nursing your baby, they get even stricter/more absurd. Another rule lists the hour increments (three hours apart) when “baby will come to mother for feeding.”
During the first 24 hours after the birth, a mother is only allowed to nurse her baby for five minutes, followed by “approximately 7 minutes” on the second and third days and 10 to 15 minutes the fourth and fifth. “If Baby Nurses Longer It May Cause The Nipple To Become Sore.” Because, um, a sore nipple is much worse than a hungry, screaming newborn.
Note that “No visitor is allowed on floor or in room during nursing periods, including father,” because god forbid someone else — especially the baby’s father — get a glimpse of that breastfeeding action. I mean, they might even see a (gasp!) boob.
Oh yeah, and while smoking in general isn’t discouraged, nurses lay down the law when it comes to lighting up. “Do not smoke while baby is in the room,” they instruct. Because back in the 1960s, smoking in the hospital was totally a thing.
The nurses also had some pretty strong orders about what foods new moms should absolutely not to eat.
They issued the list of forbidden foods in all caps, just to make sure everyone knew how seriously to take the restrictions. “DO NOT EAT CHOCOLATE CANDY, RAW APPLE, CABBAGE, NUTS, STRAWBERRIES, CHERRIES, ONIONS, OR GREEN COCOANUT [sic] CAKE,” they warn. But, perhaps brown coconut cake is okay? We may never know.
Commenters were as shocked as could be expected. Some wanted to know what green coconut cake is and why exactly it was blacklisted? Others couldn’t believe new mothers weren’t discouraged from smoking in general (“Ladies put your cigarettes down when you feed the baby,” joked Sydney Miller). However, a slew of mothers pointed out that they experienced similar restrictions — just twenty years ago!
“I would be barred from the hospital!” wrote Lisa O’Neil. “21 years ago I had my first baby and the rules were pretty ridiculous then also, my urge to mummy my daughter won me the right to be ignored by the midwives.”
While we’re all pretty blown away by the antiquated practices of 1968, as a new mom, Henson found the nursing rules to be particularly shocking — especially the suggested breastfeeding time increments.
“I absolutely could not believe that,” she says. “I guess I had never thought about how breastfeeding wasn’t always such a big thing. But wow, only breastfeeding my baby for five minutes?! Especially when he was a newborn?! My baby would be so upset!”
The letter has been shared thousands of times, and rightfully so. Every single person on the planet needs to read it, take a moment to absorb its ridiculousness and be reminded of how things have seriously changed for the better in the last 50 years — at least in regards to birthing a baby!